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BASEBALL PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Francesco Capocci, Denmark
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Denmark junior Francesco Capocci delivers a pitch Thursday during the Danes' 6-2 win against West Forsyth. Photo by Colin Hubbard for the Forsyth County News

A year and a half ago, Francesco Capocci started playing baseball for himself. He changed his mind, his sights changed, and his confidence raised through the roof. 

Capocci didn’t really become a pitcher until last year.

“My coach [Jamie Corr] knew I threw pretty hard so I kinda gradually became a pitcher because that’s what my goal became. I started to work really really hard at it. Started focusing more on my pitching, I was getting with people, different pitching coaches from traveling organizations Georgia Bombers and Denmark,” Capocci said. “It really formulated there.”

The 2022 Forsyth County Pitcher of the year finished the season by going 5-3 with 1.71 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 49 IP. When it was his time to step up onto the plate, he hit a batting average of .321 with five home runs, 28 RBIs and eight stolen bases. 

“For a while, I've been working towards being one of the better pitchers in the county. Definitely getting that award this year felt really, really good,” Capocci said. “I’ve worked really hard in the past couple of years. I gained 30 pounds last year to get my body feeling right and put on the weight for good reason. It definitely felt awesome.” 

Among the things that kept Capocci motivated to become the player he is today is that he started playing baseball for God and was experiencing different energy in himself that he wanted to show people how it feels to be an amazing pitcher. 

“I just really want to inspire people. I want people to be inspired to be great. For me going into my senior year, I only not want to be the best player for myself but for God and these other different kids,” Capocci said. 

Denmark’s 4-2 victory in the Region championship against Lambert was Capocci's favorite game this season. Capocci finished with 103 pitches, and 11 strikeouts.  

“At Denmark, we want to be the best – we want to win the region every year. We clinched the region I think seven games before our region games were even over. I threw the entire game,” Capocci said. “I wanted to put the team on my shoulders that game, fuel my team up and give them the confidence that their pitcher wasn’t gonna let anyone score off of him. I’m a huge team player. It was definitely my favorite game,” Capocci said. 

Denmark capped off a successful season with 22-11 record and their dominance record of 13-5 against region teams, 

“Why we were so good is because we had that family aspect of us,” he said. “A lot of teams don’t have that. We had this chemistry that was honestly unbeatable. They’re not only my teammates but my brothers. It's definitely something I'm going to miss next year.”

After Capocci's senior year as a Dane, he won't have to change his colors as he is preparing to transition his game at the University of North Carolina, where he will work on implementing his talent into the Tar Heels rotation.